Mapping migration flows

Student activity first year EPA

Associate Professor Erik Pruyt is a lecturer and researcher at TU Delft and regularly receives assignments from external clients. Since Pruyt feels that students should gain experience in real-life projects he often has students working on these cases. They can either sign up for these assignments, or are assigned to them.

Stefan Wigman (picture on the right) is now a second year student at the MSc EPA programme. During the first year of this study, he started working on one of Erik's projects for the course Systems Dynamics, together with a fellow student.

Mapping migration flows

Stefan: ‘Together with a fellow student I carried out a project on mapping migration flows in Europe in collaboration with the Dutch national police force. We have tried to predict how refugees/ immigrants travel through Europe by using several indicators in order to estimate the influx of people that each European country may expect. We used a fairly simple basic model and then ran it for all countries at the same time. In this model only travelling between neighbouring countries was possible.’ The data that Stefan used included the arrival details of refugees and the details of their final destination. Different factors that influence the flows of refugees, such as the closing of national borders and 'Social Group Pull', can be included.

Developing intelligent techniques

‘We developed new intelligent techniques which make this model work much faster, compared to existing models. With the other modelling techniques it takes several days to build a model on such a large scale. This technique however achieves the same result within a few hours and the simulating time of this 'new' model is even faster!’, says Stefan.

The project covered the first two quarters of  the study. Working with a fellow student, the teacher as well as the client made the project very interesting for Stefan. ‘As a student, it is great to know that you are working on real projects and that your solution will actually be used.’

An article of this project was subsequently also accepted at the System Dynamics Conference 2017.

Global energy market
Erik Pruyt also launched another project during the summer of 2017. The goal of this project is to model the global energy market for the transition to sustainable energy. The intention here is to make a model for every country in the world, which then communicates with 'the world wide model'.

The model that Stefan used for his police project is also used here. ‘I was able to use the experience from the migration project here, because the same principles are used. The biggest challenge in this project is to build a model that is still manageable, but is also able to simulate quickly. That is quite a challenge when you run the models simultaneously for all countries worldwide.’